If you are one of those people who has a spousal support court Order or Agreement and your spouse is simply not paying you what he/she needs to, you will need to take measures to enforce spousal support in BC which can be a frustrating and confusing process.

Here are a couple ways to enforce spousal support in BC:

Enforcing Spousal Support Through a Court Order and Fines

If you have a Court Order and your spouse is simply not paying the spousal support you deserve, follow these steps:

  1. Set down an Application and seek a declaration that your ex-spouse is either in breach of a Court Order or in Contempt of a Court Order.
  2. Seek fines in the amount of no more than $5000 for such breach.
  3. You could seek jail time if your spouse is found in contempt of a court Order.
  4. You could also seek your legal costs (special costs) for having been put through this unnecessary application and hardship for having to enforce the Court Order.
  5. Judges do not like Court Orders being breached so unless your ex has a very good reason for not having paid, you will get remedies from the Court to ensure your ex does not breach Orders again.

Enforcing Spousal Support through a Separation Agreement

  1. You should first file your separation agreement either with the Provincial Court of BC or the Supreme Court of BC. We usually recommend the Supreme Court of BC but if you already had court proceedings through the Provincial Court, then you should file your separation or marriage agreement with the Provincial Court.
  2. Then follow steps #1 to #5 as stated above.
  3. Please do note however that the steps above are just a fraction of what you know and need to ensure your case is successful in Court. It is always recommended to speak with a family lawyer before taking any steps.

Enforcing Spousal Support through the Family Maintenance and Enforcement Program in BC

One of the advantages of living in BC is having a government that will assist you for free if your spouse is not paying you child or spousal support. The Family Maintenance and Enforcement Program of BC will help you enforce your spousal support Orders or agreements. They will delegate the task to a lawyer that works for them at no charge to you. It is a powerful organization that can do the following to ensure you are paid spousal support.

  1. Garnishing your ex-spouse’s wages;
  2. Confiscating his/her passport, driver’s license, etc;
  3. Advancing court proceedings on your behalf to get spousal support;
  4. Setting down default Hearings and Payment hearings on your behalf;
  5. Keeping an accounting of what has or has not been paid;
  6. Advancing actions to put your ex-spouse in jail if he/she does not pay you support.

For more information on what procedure to follow which will best meet your needs, contact us.

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